Just off airport way and nearly beneath Interstate 5, Georgetown’s Ground Control (6105 13th Ave. S; 206.397.3821; groundcontrolseattle.com) is perhaps the smallest bar in Seattle, with only a few two-top tables, a lazy-U-shaped wooden bar, shelves of model airplanes mirroring nearby Boeing Field, and rotating art shows. But the former coffee shop is filled with ace cocktails, hearty sandwiches, good cheer—and a doorway to its sister bar, Brass Tacks.
Cozy Quarters and Common Ground
There’s a special sense of community in a small bar. You sit near a stranger and the lack of elbow room keeps people from worrying about bumping elbows. While the floor here is a polished concrete, the regular crowd keeps the room warm. Irregulars feel welcome, too, with amiable cook/bartenders chatting as they whip up a Georgetown cocktail ($10), an Italian-influenced herbal sipper with Old Overholt rye, Italian stalwarts punt e mes and Fernet Branca, maraschino liqueur and an orange twist. It’s the star of a solid list of 10 mixes. The bar serves mighty sandwiches—including a revered Philly cheese steak ($10), three types of gooey grilled cheese ($6 to $8, depending on toppings, one of which includes capocollo, provolone and cherry pepper)—served with a seasonal salad (if offered, go for the crisp cucumber half-moons in tangy brine).
Getting Down to Brass Tacks
In January 2013, brothers Alex and Jonathan Parisi and Skylar Keith knocked a hole in the wall to their neighboring spot, Brass Tacks, which is creatively decorated with an assortment of seating, a shuffleboard table, a doll in a birdcage hanging in a corner and an old Bingo board blinking on the wall. In the large, open kitchen, herbs hang from the ceiling, and chef Chris Opsata (of Urban Enoteca) and crew dish out a more expansive menu, highlighted by a house-smoked brisket mac ’n’ cheese ($13) and Piedmontese short rib sliders ($11). It also has solid cocktails and friendly bartenders, as well as house infusions (including a sour apple and cinnamon bourbon), and the same conviviality as Ground Control—although it’s not quite as cozy.